Oluyinka …The quintessential filmmaker
OLUYINKA Davids, a Nigerian-born South African trained cinematographer and video director, is the CEO of iFocus Pictures Ltd. The young man, whose love for pictures and videos started from childhood, followed his passion and since then, he has continued to excel in his chosen career. To his credit are a number of awards and nominations including, The Best Video Director of the Year NGMA 2013, Nominee NGMVA 2013 (Best Video Director Category) and Winner Best Video Director (Crystal Awards 2014). He also directed a number of TV Ads and soap such as Emerald, Gwatala and music videos including Jehovah Mi by Funke Akinokun and others. In this chat with GERALDINE AKUTU, Davids shares his experiences as a cinematographer among other issues.
At what stage did you decide to go into film production?
I love camera and photography. I remember when I was in secondary school, I pleaded with my parents to allow me learn how to handle video camera, but they refused. My parents didn’t give me the chance to learn two things I love — music and camera. I had to travel out of the country to study cinematography and also had other trainings in filmmaking.
What aspect of filmmaking interests you the most?
It’s the camera handling, directing and postproduction. It is something I really enjoy doing.
Who is eligible to be called a cinematographer?
A cinematographer is someone who understands the technicalities of films and filmmaking. You need to understand not only the camera now, but also the sound and light before you can be qualified to be a cinematographer. You also have to understand the pros and cons of the camera.
What differentiates a cinematographer from a cameraman?
A cinematographer covers areas such as sound, video and so on, while a cameraman just handles the camera.
What were your initial challenges when you started?
One of my biggest challenges was fund. But when I met Bola Mogaji, who is based in London, things got easier for me and people got to know about my work. The rest as you can see is history.
What gives you the cutting edge as a video director?
Quality, creativity and attention to details single me out.
Have you noticed any remarkable change in the industry?
A lot of people have gone abroad to study filmmaking and have come back to contribute their own quota to the industry. There is massive improvement, but we still need to do more.
How long have you been directing professionally?
I’ve been doing this for the past seven years because I started from South Africa, where I produced two programmes on Cape Town TV. One was a talk show, while the other was a game show for children. So, I had some experience before establishing my own company in Nigeria in 2012.
How many films have you produced so far?
I’ve produced more than four films, but I am working on new projects.
What makes a film director good on the job?
Understanding the script and the ability to interpret the script.
Your role models in the film industry
In film, I admire Stephen Spielberg, who I had the chance of meeting once in Cape Town. And in video directing, I look up to Collins Tilley, a music director, who has done most of Chris Brown’s video.
How much time do you spend shooting a music video?
It depends on the concept. It could sometimes be a day or two days, but the longest I have done is five days.
How long does it take to do post production?
It can take up to two weeks, but if the workload is less, it can take just a day or two.
How do you relate with artistes to bring out the best video?
Wow! That’s a very sensitive area. But I try to understand their personality, and then communicate with them in a way that would enable them to understand and deliver.
God is my major inspiration. I also draw inspiration from films, my wife, daughter and the environment.
What makes a music video interesting to watch?
First thing is the quality because it is what people see at that moment.
Your favourite video director
In Nigeria, it’s Clarence Peters, while outside the country, I love Collins Tilley.
How do you balance work and family?
I’m proud to say I have a very supportive wife, who understands what I do. She allows me to do my work without disturbance. But when I’m less busy, I try as much as I can to take them out or travel out together and spend quality time.
Describe yourself in three words?
I’m lovable, passionate and simple.
What valuable lessons have you learned in life?
I’ve learnt to follow my dreams. There is nothing as fulfilling as doing something you are passionate about and making money through it. Though, there would always be challenges, but with focus, hard work and determination, you will get there.